Published April 10, 2013
Dandona, MD, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine,
has received two new grants totaling more than $2.1 million to
further study liraglutide, an insulin additive that could change
the course of treatment for Type I diabetes.
Support includes a five-year, $1.4 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes
and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and a $712,000 grant from the
Juvenile Diabetes Research
“If, indeed, this research confirms a beneficial effect, liraglutide and other glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 agonists could become routine,” says Dandona.
With the NIH grant, Dondona and his team will conduct the first placebo-controlled, prospective, randomized study to determine the effect of adding liraglutide to insulin.
This 56-week study of 90 people with Type 1 diabetes also will assess whether the drug suppresses the blood-sugar-raising hormone glucagon following meals.
In addition, using the foundation grant, Dandona will study the effect of liraglutide on 70 obese patients.
Liraglutide is a GLP-1 analog marketed as Victoza and currently
used to treat Type 2 diabetes.
For those with Type 1 diabetes, insulin alone has been the only
treatment option available since 1921. Finding an alternative is
important because “a majority of these patients are not well
controlled—in spite of clever insulin-delivering devices and
continuous glucose monitoring,” says Dandona, chief of endocrinology and metabolism.
If successful, adding liraglutide will improve overall diabetic
control without increasing the risk for hypoglycemia, he adds,
noting that it could also lead to a potential reduction in
microvascular complications of diabetes.
Concurrently, Dandona is leading two continuing studies of liraglutide. One is assessing the effect of the drug on 45 patients age 16 to 30, using a previously awarded grant from the American Diabetes Association. Another is determining the correct dose of liraglutide through a 72-person study funded by Novo Nordisk, the drug’s manufacturer.
Dandona’s prior research discovered that GLP-1 drugs exert a potent anti-inflammatory action.
In addition, a smaller
study with liraglutide showed that even difficult-to-treat
patients achieved “dramatic and rapid improvement” in
several measures, notes Dandona.
Improvements included reduced insulin dose, lower systolic blood
pressure and a marked drop in instances of hyper- and
These highly encouraging results were presented at the Endocrine Society’s 2012 Annual Meeting.